inv# 02-14919

This fabulous early cartridge box has the classic 19 round early Revolutionary War construction that was used by many New England troops during the introductory years of the war. By the year 1779, many of these early construction 19 round boxes had been replaced by boxes of larger capacity & heavier construction. Boxes like this were used through the end of the war & after by many state & local militia troops. This box was modified later in the war or after to allow the carrying of 24 paper wrapped cartridges rather than the original 19. This was facilitated with an added wooden block at the front of the pouch. This modification also allowed the box to become regulation for use after 1787 & would have been appropriate for such conflicts as Shay’s Rebellion & the Quasi War with France.

The cartridge box is in a shadow box frame with an early card mounted in the back of the frame which reads, “THIS BULLET BAG WAS TAKEN FROM OLD BARN IN LEXINGTON FAMILY STORYS SAY IT WAS USED BY ANCESTOR ON APRIL 19, 1775 THE DAY THE BRITISH ATTACKED OUR TOWN”. Due to the wording of the tag, one can infer that it was written by a resident of Lexington, likely for display in a local historical society or curiosity museum. The Battles of Lexington & Concord were the first true military engagements fought during American Revolution. The battles were fought on April 19, 1775 in Lexington, Concord, as well as 3 other towns in Middlesex County of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. These conflicts marked the outbreak of hostilities with Great Britain that culminated with the independence of the United States. The construction of this box has been attributed to Rueben Brown of Concord, Massachusetts through research & comparison to known local examples by a New Hampshire author. Brown held a contract to produce these boxes for local militia companies & a matching interior block is exhibited at the Minuteman National Historical Park. The box appears to be approx. 9 1/2″ wide with a 4 1/2″ block including the pouch. The flap is approx. 7″ in height & has been wired to the back of the 23 1/2″ x 19″ x 6″ shadow box. The shoulder strap is estimated to be approx. 36″ long & 3″ wide. The interior block was originally of 19 round configuration, but a block for an additional 5 rounds has been added to the front. All leather appears to be blackened harness leather. All measurements, as well as visual observations, are approximate as the box has not been examined out of the frame. The box is illustrated on pg. 110 of the book, “For Liberty I Live”.

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